Chelsea boss Graham Potter has embraced the extra pressure he is under at his new club after his first Premier League game in charge of the Blues ended in a late 2-1 win at Crystal Palace.
The game seemed headed for a draw before second-half substitute Conor Gallagher, who was on loan from Palace, struck a winner in the 90th minute.
Some may have seen sending the England midfielder as an inspired decision, but the former Brighton manager seemed relieved at the victory.
“The pressure and expectations are heightened by Chelsea’s position in the football hierarchy,” admitted Potter. “It is, but that’s why I took up the challenge. Because of that, I’m here.
“Regardless of what (the media) asks me and what comes of it, I tend to just focus on the job and working with the players and helping them improve and win.
“Luckily I got off to a good start, but I know I still have a long way to go.”
Odsonne Edouard put Palace ahead after seven minutes before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang opened his Chelsea account with a tidy finish before half-time.
That seemed to be the end result before Gallagher, who came on for Aubameyang in the 78th minute, rolled past Vincente Guaita to seal the win.
It was a game that was not without controversy. Chelsea could have gone down to 10 men with Jordan Ayew eyeing goal but Thiago Silva, lying on the ground with his arm outstretched, appeared to bat the ball away.
He was cautioned and the game went to a VAR check for a red card but Silva stayed on and the decision proved costly for the hosts as he set up Aubameyang’s equalizer moments later.
“It was probably a 50-50 that we came from on the right side,” Potter said.
“I think it’s one that we’ve been really lucky with. I think the fact that it’s quite a distance from goal probably helps us a bit and maybe there are defenders recovering too, but I can understand Patrick’s frustration.”
Palace boss Patrick Vieira wavered between refusing to talk about the decision and pure confusion.
“It was tough, it was a difficult game for us,” he said. “I think we did enough to at least get the points and given that goal at the end of course it frustrated the team and I.
“Regarding the Thiago incident, I think it’s something I don’t want to talk about. It’s hard for me to understand, to accept, so sometimes it’s better to be very quiet and not talk about it.
“I don’t want to talk about it because I think the referee got it wrong and if I really said what I think I’d get in trouble, so it’s better for me not to talk about it.”
Vieira also updated on injuries to Joachim Andersen, who was unavailable for the Chelsea clash, and Nathaniel Clyne after being carried away on a stretcher late in the first half.
“I haven’t had a chance to speak to the doctor yet,” Vieira said. “I know (Clyne) went to the hospital straight away.”
Anderson “felt something on his calf” in Friday morning practice and was ruled out of Saturday’s game.
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/conor-gallagher-graham-potter-patrick-vieira-pierreemerick-aubameyang-thiago-silva-b2190639.html Graham Potter enjoys added pressure after Chelsea left late to beat Crystal Palace